Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Photo by David Thyberg, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Sweden is trying something new these days. Each week, the Swedish government’s twitter account, “At Sweden,” is being handed over to a Swedish citizen. And for seven days, that person can say anything they want to the account’s 25,000 plus followers. The government calls it “the world’s most democratic twitter account.” J.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the tally stands at 1-1-1. Over the weekend, former House speaker Newt Gingrich re-established himself as a presidential contender with a resounding victory in South Carolina's primary.

He beat second-place finisher former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by more than 12 points. That means Romney, Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have each won a nominating contest. Now all eyes are on Florida.

Romney Will Release Tax Records On Tuesday

Jan 23, 2012

Aiming to reset the narrative after Saturday's bruising loss in South Carolina, Mitt Romney said he would release his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday. The former Massachusetts governor made the commitment last night in an interview with Fox News.

By embracing Newt Gingrich in its primary, the South Carolina GOP has risked its remarkable record of success at picking the party's eventual nominee for president.

It's been quite a run. Beginning with its primary in 1980, when it chose Ronald Reagan, South Carolina has voted first among Southern states. And the Palmetto State's choice has gone on to dominate the other Southern states and lock up the nomination in short order. That happened eight times in a row, counting incumbent renominations.

Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina was big enough to ensure that the Republican primary season will remain competitive for weeks to come.

But even in the immediate aftermath of the former House speaker's 12 percentage point victory over Mitt Romney, analysts were asking whether Gingrich's newfound momentum would be enough to sustain a serious challenge.

Herman Cain suspended his bid for the GOP presidential nominee back in December, but that's not stopping him from picking up votes in South Carolina's primary.

Could his mini surge of one percent of the vote be thanks to a late-breaking endorsement by Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert?

Most of the candidates in the GOP primary race have given their primary night speeches following South Carolina's primary Saturday.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won the state's primary.

PBS NewsHour will be posting video of all of the candidates' speeches here.

For the record:

As our live blog has reported, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won today's Republican presidential primary in South Carolina.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to have finished second.

In third: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

That puts Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in fourth.

So the race continues, with Florida's Jan. 31 primary as the next major contest.

Newt Gingrich has beaten Mitt Romney in South Carolina. The question now becomes whether he can pull off that trick enough times in enough states to deny Romney the Republican presidential nomination.

It was a big win for Gingrich, the former House speaker, who took 40 percent of the vote, compared to 28 percent for Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

graphic: npr

NHPR brings you live NPR coverage Saturday night from the South Carolina Primary.

Rick Santorum is officially the winner of the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican presidential caucus. The state Republican Party reversed itself from a previous assertion that it would not declare one, given problems at eight precincts, as The Des Moines Register reported.

In a news release late Friday, the party said it called the race "in order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released Jan. 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa."

Carolina Blues: N.C. GOP Looks South With Envy

Jan 21, 2012

South Carolina voters have a pivotal role Saturday in narrowing the field of Republican presidential candidates.

But after that, South Carolina will get very little political attention. It's solidly Republican and simply not worth the time or money of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

North Carolina, on the other hand, could go either way, and the Obama campaign is already digging in. The Charlotte region straddles both states and leads a sort of "double life" in politics.

Too Far North

The New Hampshire House has passed its redistricting plan. Below are three maps to help  you see what's proposed and how it's different from today's voting districts.

  • The first map shows the proposed House districts, including the "floaterials" which appear as green overlays on the map
  • The second is the proposed districts without the floterials, colored by the number of representatives which would be elected from each district.
  • The third is the previous districts, color coded in the same way.

New Districts with Floterials New Districts without FloterialsPrevious Districts


(This post was retopped with the latest news at 9:35 a.m ET.)

The first-in-the-nation Iowa Republican presidential caucuses produced no clear winner, the Iowa Republican Party has confirmed.

While its recanvassing of the nearly 1,774 precincts where ballots were cast on Jan. 3 has put former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 34 votes ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — a reversal of what we thought were their finishes — the party says it can't definitively say who won because it can't find the results from eight of the precincts.

(This post was retopped with the latest news at 11:18 a.m. ET.)

Saying that "there is no viable path forward for me," Texas Gov. Rick Perry just confirmed that he is leaving the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Then, he went on to endorse the bid of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — just two days before South Carolina Republicans go to the polls in a primary that could either cement former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's lead in the race for the GOP nomination or give new life to someone else's; perhaps Gingrich's.

 The Stop Online Piracy Act now in front of Congress – and its Senate counterpart bill, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, are both stirring up vigorous debates in political, media and  IT circles.

In South Carolina, the race to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney is hitting a fever pitch. The state is seen by many as the last stop before inevitability in the GOP primary.

In campaign stops Tuesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich laid out what sounded like an ultimatum.

Hate Politics, Love TV, Live In S.C.? Not Your Week

Jan 18, 2012

Scott Sanders will be eating lunch at his desk again. Sanders is the general sales manager for the NBC affiliate in Columbia — South Carolina's capital — so all his time is devoted these days to handling ad traffic ahead of Saturday's Republican primary.

"It's been crazy this week," Sanders says. "It will be hard to watch TV, because there are so many ads."

All five major GOP candidates have ads running during the station's nightly news programs. Their messages are also being amplified and augmented by supportive superPACs.

The battle for the Republican presidential nomination may or may not be decided by the end of this month. The battle for control of the Senate, on the other hand, is likely to go on all the way until the final votes are cast in November.

All of the Republican presidential hopefuls take on President Obama in their stump speeches, attacking his health care plan, his jobs record and more.

But the shorthand former House Speaker Newt Gingrich uses, calling the nation's first black president the "food stamp president," is raising questions.

It's a theme Gingrich has used since Iowa, and he returned to it during a forum in Charleston, S.C., over the weekend.

The widening gulf between the rich and everyone else is a growing source of tension in America.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the income gap is now seen as a bigger source of conflict in the U.S. than race, age or national origin. That's why some believe the issue could matter in the presidential campaign, and others worry it could warp the national debate.

Two out of three Americans now perceive strong social conflicts over the income gap — up sharply from two years ago. Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center has an idea what's behind the increase.

In their books, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior. As boring as that may sound, what they really do is tell stories — about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama's boys. Those Freakonomics stories — and plenty of new ones — are now coming to the radio, with Dubner as host.

In Texas today, conservative Christian and evangelical leaders begin two days of meetings to discuss political strategy, and perhaps to coalesce around a Republican presidential candidate other than front-runner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports on the search for a so-called "Jesus candidate" and the evolving influence of Christian right leaders in the Republican Party.

Mitt Romney's campaign has a new TV ad meant to counter attacks on his career at private-equity firm Bain Capital, using the same defense it has ever since his rivals for the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination started taking populist jabs at him.

Comedian Stephen Colbert's "big announcement" last night (which we previewed yesterday)?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his presidential campaign in South Carolina last August, but now his campaign may soon come to an end in the same state where it started. Ben Philpott of KUT News reports on Morning Edition that with the clock ticking down to the Jan. 21 primary, Perry is polling in single digits.

That means Perry has just over a week to convince South Carolinians to vote for him. Philpott spends some time on the campaign trail with Perry, reporting that those attending stops, like Lexington resident Glenn Gainey, know the deal.

Jon Greenberg, NHPR

The New Hampshire primary is about politics – obviously – but it’s also about economics, albeit in a much smaller way. While the rest of the state was watching vote totals and checking on the mood at campaign headquarters, reporter Amanda Loder of StateImpact New Hampshire was looking at the economic effects of the first in the nation primary. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what she learned. 


A number of media outlets(including the Boston Globe) noted that Mitt Romney's victory speech after the New Hampshire primary felt more like a general election speech than a nomination contest speech.

How NH Counties Voted (Based Economic Demos)

Jan 11, 2012

This year, NHPR's GOP primary coverage took on a strong national flavor, broadcasting to listeners all over the country. Among the network's expanded audience were WNYC listeners in, well...NYC.